In your bag No: 1438, Greg Turner
A strong turnout today, with a Zeiss heavy bag. Greg has combined modern and classic gear in this lovely setup. Come and check it out.
When we were kids, on Christmas Day morning, my brother and I would always carefully arrange our opened presents and then take pictures of them. When I got back into photography a few years ago, imagine my surprise when I discovered that this predilection for photographing your prized possessions in this way wasn’t just something confined to childhood.
I wanted then to share my bag with you.
My photography interest is people. I take pictures of people as much because it gives me the opportunity to engage with them as I do to make their picture. I have a project whereby I approach strangers in the street and persuade them to have their picture taken. It’s not a unique idea, but it’s a very personal project that goes a bit deeper than just taking photographs. I talk about it on my website on the ‘About Me’ section if you want to know more: www.tearsinrain.co.uk
‘The Book of Strangers’ then is a collection of the best of these and the stories of how I came to make the portrait. I made the book using Blurb and use it as a way of establishing trust and building rapport with potential subjects. I also have business cards with the website and other contact details on (I keep them in an old pewter cigarette case), a note book and pen for jotting down contact details and stories and a Rapha Essentials case (I’m also a keen cyclists) for other people’s cards. I always share my contact details with my subjects and promise them both a soft and hard copy of the photograph as a thank you, but it’s surprising how few people ever get in touch. There’s something in that I think. Something about the maintenance of anonymity that makes this project more interesting.
I mostly shoot with a Sony ArII and either a Loxia 35mm f/2 for street shooting (I tend to use zone focusing and trusty f/8 and there isn’t another FE lens that makes this easy to do) or a Sony 85m G Master for portraits. Both lenses are fabulous and produce lovely results, but the Loxia is particularly sublime in its handling and the G Master produces achingly gorgeous results. I also tend to carry a strobe for portraits.
Lately I’ve become what I call ‘medium format film curious’ and having never shot medium format film before I felt the need to give it a try. I’m chasing that wonderful dynamic range and tonal quality that makes portraits especially wonderful and I’ve recently acquired a Hasselblad 501CM with an 80mm lens, a prism rather than waist level finder (which I much prefer) and a few extra backs (actually eight in total!).
This is no ordinary ‘blad though. This one is quite special. The last time it was used was September 22nd 2007 and that date is memorable because it’s the day I got married and this is the very same camera that was used to take our wedding photographs. It has been in the photographer’s loft since then and she has agreed to loan it to me while I decide if it’s something I want to buy from her. I’ve used it a few times but I’m already in love. The shutter noise is wonderful; a soft mechanical ‘plop’ and the view finder is so big and engaging. I can easily justify the purchase on the basis that in the street the camera is either ignored (not least because I don’t have to hold it up to my face like a regular camera) or becomes a point of fascination that helps break the ice or generate interest for more engagements. I think this is a keeper.
Oh and the bag. Yes, almost forgot. It’s a Wotoncraft Ranger and it’s gorgeous. I picked this up in Paris in a fabulous little shop in ninth arrondissement, just off the Rue des Martyrs that sells new and used Lecias and Hasselblads. It’s a tiny place but wonderfully stocked and they had the whole range of Wotoncraft bags in the store. It was a spur of the moment purchase but one I’m glad I made.
Flickr feed is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geetee1972/
Thanks for sharing your bag with us, Greg. It’s a beauty.
Check out the links and please come and comment.
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